Once proclaiming to be "The Standard of the World," Cadillac has more recently been fighting to reach a new – younger – generation of buyers. The addition of the excellent ATS compact sedan has been a big step forward, and the XTS aims to do the same on the other end of Cadillac's lineup. As the luxury brand's newest flagship sedan, the 2014 Cadillac XTS possesses a good balance of exterior style, interior refinement and modern (though potentially confusing) technology. Smaller than the geriatric DTS it replaced, the chiseled XTS bridges the gap between midsize and full-size luxury sedans. Starting around $45,000, it faces a broad set of rivals, from the Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class to the more performance-oriented BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want a mature, comfortable full-size sedan with the presence and prestige for which Cadillac is known, the XTS fits the bill in a contemporary suit. On the value side of the equation, the XTS undercuts most European and Japanese rivals while still offering plenty of standard features.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you want your big cruiser to be engaging when the road twists, a more performance-oriented car like the rear-drive BMW 5-Series can scratch that itch. We must also mention the CUE infotainment system. Its complexity and lack of intuitiveness could be a deal-breaker, so we advise giving it a full test-drive, too.
The big news for the 2014 XTS is more power thanks to an optional twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The invigorated powerplant makes 410 horsepower and comes standard with all-wheel drive (AWD). Also of note are automatic parking assist, an available rear-seat entertainment system, and electric power steering in front-wheel-drive models.
Driving the XTS
The Cadillac XTS offers a commendable balance between comfort and handling. The big sedan is especially competent when cruising over wide stretches of pavement, remaining poised even when the road...
... is scarred. The Cadillac's ability to soak up bumps is due in large part to its standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension, which adjusts to varying road conditions within milliseconds. The XTS's hydraulically-assisted steering system, used on all-wheel-drive models, is precise and responsive. Overall comfort is enhanced by a quiet cabin that is so well-insulated that we had to check the tachometer to make sure the engine was running. On that front, the standard engine is a 305-horsepower V6 with adequate but not exceptional performance. When the XTS was introduced for 2013, we pined for more horsepower. This year, Cadillac has delivered with a twin-turbo V6. That optional powerplant produces 410 horsepower and comes standard with AWD.
DRIVER AWARENESS PACKAGE This system bundles advanced safety features that constantly monitor surroundings to prevent an accident. In addition to blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert, the system boasts Safety Alert Seat, which literally shakes the driver's seat as a warning to dangers such as drifting from a lane or crashing into an object.
HEAD-UP DISPLAY Although head-up displays are nothing new in the automotive world, the Cadillac XTS takes this fighter-jet-inspired feature to the next level with a full-color display, speed-limit reminders and navigation instructions.
2014 Cadillac XTS Details
Step inside the 2014 Cadillac XTS and you will see a rich, impeccably assembled cabin. Comfortable, leather-trimmed seats are standard, and top-line models are further outfitted with leather-wrapped interior panels. The 3-passenger rear seat offers good legroom, and a massive, 18-cubic-foot trunk. Cadillac calculates that the XTS can swallow five or more suitcases. But not all is perfect inside the XTS. While the standard 8-inch touch-screen center controller is visually appealing and offers haptic feedback (in which the screen feels like it's touching you back), the standard CUE system is unintuitive. It requires a steep learning curve to operate what should be simple functions like audio and climate settings.
The Cadillac XTS has the angular, wedge-like profile of its CTS and ATS sedan siblings, but in longer and larger form. Design highlights include windswept headlights and side creases. Befitting this large sedan are sizable wheels: 19 inches on most models and 20-inch versions on high-end trims. Twin exhaust outlets also lend a sporty feel. All-wheel-drive models have "XTS4" badging to indicate all wheels being driven. Less obvious, but helpful, is a capless fuel-filling system that means you'll never have to unscrew a cap before refueling.
Even if you spend the least on a base model XTS, you'll be getting a lot for your money. Among the niceties are dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, rear parking assist, and an 8-speaker Bose sound system with CD/HD Radio, streaming Bluetooth audio and USB inputs. Stepping up trims brings features like a rearview camera, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 12.3-inch driver-information display, and the Driver Awareness Package. Safety features include 10 airbags, GM's OnStar communications service with automatic crash response, and Brembo performance brakes. Complimentary maintenance is standard for four years or 50,000 miles.
All-wheel drive is available on base V6 versions of the XTS (it's standard on turbocharged models). Other options vary by trim and include navigation, a 14-speaker Bose Studio Surround Sound audio system, a dual-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and a sunroof. The new Parking Assist feature included in higher trims enables the XTS to parallel park itself with minimal driver input. Added safety is available with the Driver Assist Package that includes adaptive cruise control and automatic braking in both forward and reverse if the system senses an impending collision.
Under the Hood
Two engine choices are available in the 2014 Cadillac XTS. Base models use a 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 that produces 305 horsepower. Those seeking more oomph should look to the twin-turbocharged version of that engine, which boosts pony count appreciably to 410 horsepower. The base engine can be had with all-wheel drive instead of the standard front-wheel drive, while turbo models come exclusively with all-wheel-drive. The AWD in the XTS uses Haldex technology and a limited-slip differential to transfer power front to back and side to side. It's helpful in Snowbelt states where traction can be compromised. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The standard V6 runs on regular unleaded, while the turbo one requires premium fuel.
With a starting price of around $45,000, the 2014 Cadillac XTS undercuts the base prices of the midsize – and relatively smaller – BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Lexus GS sedans. This year, the XTS has new competition in the highly capable Acura RLX, which starts a few thousand beyond the base price of the Cadillac. The Infiniti M also starts a few thousand above the XTS, while the Audi A6 opens at a few thousand below (albeit in 4-cylinder form), as does the V6 Lincoln MKS. Like other luxury cars, the XTS's price can inflate quickly. Load up a top-line turbo version, and the Cadillac's price can crest $70,000. To get the best deal before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price. We expect the XTS's resale value to parallel that of most others in this class, but to be significantly below that of the Lexus GS.
"I can't think of another car for $46,000 that gives you this much luxury and value. In 20,000 miles, I can honestly say I look forward to getting behind the wheel each day. Great styling - luxurious interior - library quiet ride. Lease is up shortly and i really rue the day I have to turn it in. I'm ready for another XTS or perhaps an SRX (only because of utility of SRX) Would recommend to everyone."
Cons: "Neverused all features - little complicated"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I am completely satisfied with the XTS. Anyone that has ridden in my car say it is like riding on a cloud. Had to take it to dealer once - CUE no working properly. Fixed and not problem since. People stop me to ask me about the car as they love the lines. This is my 5th Cadillac. I looked at BMW's and Audi's before deciding on the XTS and believe I made the right decision for me. No mechancial problems to date."